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The Legality Of Tyres On Road Vehicles In Spain

- Updated: 01/10/2013
The Legality Of Tyres On Road Vehicles In Spain

There are a number of quirky laws relating to motoring here in Spain, and a number of these relate specifically to the tyres that are fitted on a road vehicle and the condition that they are in. Tyres in Spain are not as cheap to buy as the UK and as such it is important that you understand the legality behind tyres and avoid the likelyhood that you will end up buying a set that does not meet with your exact requirements.

Anybody who has been resident in Spain for even the shortest period of time will be able to tell you the the Guardia can, and do, hold regular spot checks for drivers and their vehicles and tyre regulations are something that feature highly on their list of things to check - especially on older vehicles.

Driving with worn or non-matching tyres can attract on the spot fines of 150 euros, and the vehicle can even be taken from the driver immediately and impounded in cases where 3 or more of the tyres are found to be unsafe.

Tyre Specification

Yes, the specification of the tyres is crucial. If your 'Fichas Tecnicas' state that 225/70/R16/102-S* tyres are fitted, then you can not change them for something else, no matter how practical or economical they are. Your vehicle will not pass an ITV unless the tyres fitted match the tyres shown in the specification. Regardless of their condition.

* The final letter in the sequence denotes the speed rating of the tyre. The letter rating can be equal to, or greater than mentioned in the Fichas Tecnicas. For Example, where an "S" is fitted, it can be replaced with a "T", but not an "R".

Tyre Variations

All tyres fitted on a vehicle are require to be the of the same make/size/speed code etc... on every wheel - Don't forget the spare !

Tread depth

Motoring law stipulates that the tread depth on a tyre should be no less than 1.6mm (although many motoring organisations recommend that a tread depth of 3.00mm should be observed to ensure safe and optimum driving conditions are met.

Tyre degradation

Those who have brought a vehicle over to Spain from the UK often notice that their tyres seem to lose pressure and therefore need topping up with air more than they ever did in the UK, and can spend ages searching for slow punctures that just don't exist. The reason behind this is the significantly warmer temperatures seen here in most of Spain - especially if your car is generally kept outside or in direct sunlight for long periods of time. Sunlight and higher temperatures causes the rubber to perish and degrade, which results in the walls of the tyres crystalising and cracking and the air slowly escapes. If this does happen, you will have accept that the tyres will need replacing altogether sooner or later - regardless of the tread depth remaining.

Click >> HERE << to read more about The EU Tyre Efficiency Rating system.

Comment on this Article

Article says all 5 tyres have to identical. Not true Front and rear can be different as long as both sides are the same. The law says nothing about the brand of tyre or it would be on the car document. A bit unreliable really.
Matt - Wed 25th Oct 2017
Can anyone tell me if trailer tyres have to be dated in Spain, as they do in the uk please
Paul - Sat 24th Jun 2017
Rob is quite correct, same brand of tyre on each axle e.g. Dunlops on front, Bridgestones on rear is perfectly good so long as the rest of the spec is correct on all 4 tyres. Same with the spare, cannot possibly match the road tyres with modern spares ( if there is one )
Tony - Mon 5th Dec 2016
Having just submitted a car for pre IVT prior to plate change I am informed that the tyres on the SAME axle I.E. front or rear must be the same brand, my fronts are not so I need to locate one if poss, of the best or replace both. Also as my car has a small emergency spare as do most these days it cannot be a match for the road wheels so can't fail on this difference.
Rob - Thu 17th Mar 2016
Lorraine : The date of manufacture is to enable the consumer to be assured that there won't be any issues with the rubber perishing, which it is susceptible to over time - especially in warmer climates.
Tumbit - Admin - Sat 27th Feb 2016
Can you tell me why there is a date on tyres and also the rubber hoses on gas bottles
Lorraine Della - Sat 27th Feb 2016
Just a little message to say if you are exporting your car over to spain and you need to get an itv please make sure that the car has it orginal size wheels and tyres for your make of car otherwise unless you are resident you will not be able to get an itv
John Ball - Mon 15th Feb 2016
I checked on this with several agencies,the local UK law applies to those on a short holiday. In other words If you drive in Spain for a few weeks you need your usual UK documents.
Phil - Fri 29th May 2015
Tyre Variations All tyres fitted on a vehicle are require to be the of the same make/size/speed code etc... on every wheel - Don't forget the spare ! =what about mercedes, bmw x5 and some other cars that have wider tyres on the back than the front
Jeff - Fri 29th May 2015
Regarding matching tyre makes in Spain, it all seems very unclear. No mentions on other sites of this ie: The AA etc. I would not expect this to be the case for those on a 2 week driving holiday in Spain where the car is all up to UK laws. Any thoughts or advice any one?..Phil
Phil - Mon 17th Mar 2014
Jus - try etyres - and consider getting a Spain/UK/Spain Courier to deliver?
David - Mon 4th Nov 2013
What do you do in spain if they simply just don't make your tyre size anymore. I have a Nissan NX100 tyre size 195/55/r14 82 V but I can't get hold of them for love nor money. There must be a contingency in Spain for changing the tyre size on a vehicle when this situation arrives ?
Jus - Mon 4th Nov 2013
Are you sure that the Make has to be the same all around? (as in all Bridestones or Dunlops for example)?
Esco - Tue 9th Apr 2013
Thanks Eric - It is a very freakily small world as I used to get my tyres fitted at your place when I lived in the UK many years back. I used to be the Manager at a company just down the road from you !
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 24th Feb 2013
Hi. and thanks for this interesting article. I own a tyre depot here in the UK and have visited Spain many times as I used to have a Villa there. The part about the "non matching tyres is very interesting, and solar deterioration of the sidewall rubber", I will include this in my blog to warn British drivers. eric
Eric Roberts - Sun 24th Feb 2013
Hi there - I got a new car with safe tyres immediately - and did use it for the remaining 2 days. Your info was invaluable during the conversation I had with the car hire centre. Thank you. I would certainly never use them again, but it is unlikely that I would go to Lanzarote again also. Thanks aain
Lisa Hardie - Sun 24th Feb 2013
The spare wheel tyre can be different i.e an 80km tyre is allowed. Tyres can be different makes so long as the are the same on the same axle
Whittaker - Sun 24th Feb 2013
Lisa : I would say that it very depends on the legality of your contract as to the likelihood of you getting a refund, or an alternative vehicle. Name and Shame ?
Tumbit - Admin - Wed 13th Feb 2013
Thanks for giving me this information on tyre safety requirements. I won't be driving that hire car again! I presume I can ask for my money back on the remaining 2 days of my hire? I was going to ask for another hire car, but there were other safety issues with the car and I have lost all trust in the company now. Best wishes
Lisa Hardie - Wed 13th Feb 2013
Same rules as UK. Makes good sense for safety, and may well affect wear on bearings differential if you have slightly different drag characteristics. Different drag on each side may cause you to spin more easily in the wet.
Paul Tempany - Sat 24th Nov 2012
You are supposed to have the same tyres on the front and Back axels - so you can have 2 of one tread type on the front and 2 of a different tread typr on the rear, as long as they are within the permitted spec in your fichas tecnicas.
Tyler - Fri 23rd Nov 2012
I have just had my renault kangoo spanish registered car put through its Itv, it was failed on 1 tyre at 155 and the other 3 at 165, and 1 which was worn, not a problem, but was not spotted at my last itv last May. Today with 2 new tyres we took it back and nearly did not get it passed because 1 tyre was not of the same tread, is this corrrect, it did get passed, but do I need to change that tyre before my next ITV ?
Denise Carr - Fri 23rd Nov 2012
My guess is that it would depend on the circumstances in which the Tyres were called into question. If you had a valid MOT on an EU car just visiting Spain for a short while I would guess the Guardia would let it pass - unless of course the car was involved in an accident.... And if the vehicle was here for longer than permitted by law then they would throw the book ...
Robster - Fri 16th Nov 2012
Do these rules about tyres apply only to Spanish registered cars or to other EU visitors also?
John Jefferis - Fri 16th Nov 2012
Interesting stuff on tyres. However the question I have is what in Spain is the law regarding tyre tread wear as a percentage across the whole tyre surface, I believe in the UK the tread must be legal for at least 70% of the total area. What, if anything, applies in Spain ?
Dieter Rudolph - Mon 15th Oct 2012
Ana, unless they have changed the law recently you can have different manufacturers on each axel, providing they are of the same spec and in accordance with what is shown in your Fichas.
Mr Grumpy - Wed 1st Aug 2012
Hi, can you let me know if all 4 tyres have to be the same, or can you have 2 front tyres the same and different from the 2 rear tyres? ITV due end of August. PS: We have a Seat Ibiza, year 2001. Thanks for your assistance. Ana
Ana Smith - Wed 1st Aug 2012
It used to be the case that a spare tyre, togtehr with the tools to change them, had to be carried by all cars in Spain. However, this is no longer the case, so you should be fine.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 6th Feb 2012
We are hoping to drive to Spain in a BMW Z4. These cars are fitted with run-flat tyres as opposed to standard ones and are not fitted to carry a spare wheel. I have spoken to BMW who assure me that it is legal to drive with run-flats in Spain and the models they export carry no spare wheel. However we are anxious to have confirmation of the legality of run-flats from someone like your selves who appear to be very knowledgeable about tyres in Spain - we do not want to travel in this car if there is any doubt. Hopefully you will be able to give us some definitive information and I thank you for your consideration of this.
Mollie Lister - Mon 6th Feb 2012
I agree that replacing tyres that look ok, and looking at the cost, not something you rush to do, but I was thinking what could happen when I was driving down the auto via at 120km .... Wise decision, I think. Best', Paul
Paul Tempany - Fri 13th Jan 2012
Thanks for your advice, Paul. We decided to bite the bullet and replace them anyway but it is interesting to note your comments about the real 'age' of tyres. Thanks again.
Bee - Thu 12th Jan 2012
Hi Bee! See my post below (March 2011). I would recommend getting them checked out. For sure, the cracks on my tyres were right across the tread, but the tyres were older. One thing to check is the actual date of manufacture. There are several features about this online, including how to check the tyres, and even stories of people dying in crashes in vehicles whose tyres were far older then the purchase date. This is a reason why there are sometimes 'good deals' to be had: the tyres are getting to their use by date. Something of a scandal!? Good luck, Paul
Paul Andalucia - Tue 10th Jan 2012
How long is a peice of string ? - It depends just how promineny the cracks are and where they are placed on the tyre/tread (and the mood of the ITV Inspector on the day !) Pesonally, I would chance your luck - worse case scenario is a re-test and having to buy the new tyres that you were going to buy anyway / best case : your car gets through!
P Coulson - Tue 10th Jan 2012
Our two front tyres were new in 2009 and still have plenty of tread, but just under where the tread starts they are showing fine hairline cracks. The car is due for its ITV check next month and we wondered if these tyres will be OK. The back tyres are older but don't have the hairline cracks! Thanks for your advice.
Bee - Tue 10th Jan 2012
Arthur - When I couldn't get hold of the tyres I needed I bought them online in the UK and got them shipped to (Mainland) Spain for 7 each (a service offered by the supplier), then fitted and balanced at a local garage for 10 each. The 17 'extra' that it cost me - 68 in total - was still a lot cheaper than similar tyre sizes & brands that I could have bought in Spain.
Mr Grumpy - Wed 19th Oct 2011
I want to purchase new Bridgestone tires for my Nissan Serena. I live in Tenerife,where can I get them ? Hope you can help. My garage people tell me that they are NOT available here.
Arthur Lewis - Wed 19th Oct 2011
As far as im aware all tyres on every wheel dont have to be the same make but the same make must be on the same axle, ie you can have continentals on the front and pirelli on the back,
Stuart - Sat 7th May 2011
I do a low km each year, and have Michelins fitted, which wear very slowly. I had wheel wobble, which balancing didn't solve, and what seemed to be slow punctures. When the car was put on a hoist with the tyres at eye level, we could see the surface was covered with micro-cracks as described, causing leaks leading to uneven wear. Lucky not to have a blow-out! Although the tyres were only half worn, they were about 4-5 years old. Binned and replaced. Not worth risking your neck (or your passengers')!
Paul Andalucia - Sat 26th Mar 2011
My advice (for what it's worth) would be just to put it in for it's ITV and see what their recommendations are - IF or WHEN they should fail it. In my experience some ITV stations are stricter than others, so you 'may' fall lucky.
Mr Grumpy - Fri 4th Mar 2011
i have4 goodyear eagle nct5 215/55r16 93v tyres with 41000km on my saab my first itv is due soon i have a small bulge on one of my rear tyres i thought to buy 2new tyres for the front then trasfer the originals to the rear ?must the 2 new ones also be goodyear answer please
Brian Pillinger - Fri 4th Mar 2011